Greenpeace Australia Pacific has today condemned fossil fuel giant Woodside following reports it will begin seismic blasting in endangered whale habitat off the coast of the Pilbara coast, Western Australia.

Pygmy Blue Whales in Western Australia
Aerial shots of Marine Megafauna off Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia.

Today the Australian Financial Review reported that Woodside could kick off seismic blasting as early as Thursday. 

Woodside plans to seismic blast for up to 80 days close to UNESCO-protected Ningaloo reef, to assess gas reserves for its Burrup Hub, which if it goes ahead will be Australia’s dirtiest fossil fuel project. 

Greenpeace Australia Pacific senior campaigner Richard George said Woodside’s seismic plans were brazen and dangerous.

“Woodside has declared a war on whales. The fossil fuel giant is about to shamelessly and recklessly start seismic blasting right next to an endangered whale superhighway as part of its climate wrecking plans to build new fossil fuel projects,” he said.

“Seismic blasting is like an atomic bomb going off underwater, and threatens to deafen whales which use sonar for food – and a deaf whale is a dead whale.”

Woodside’s own acoustic modelling found that pygmy blue whales could be injured by the seismic blasting over 60km from the blasting vessel.

The seismic blasting is assessing climate-wrecking gas for Woodside’s Burrup Hub project. The Burrup Hub is the most polluting fossil fuel project currently proposed in Australia, and would produce over six-billion tonnes of greenhouse emissions over its lifetime until 2070.

“Woodside’s Burrup Hub isn’t just a danger to whales – it’s a climate bomb that will affect us all. Climate records are being broken across the world, including the hottest winter in Australia’s history just gone. By pressing ahead with its climate-wrecking project, Woodside is condemning communities across the country to more fires, droughts and floods,” George said.

It comes after hundreds of West Australians gathered to show their opposition to Woodside’s dangerous seismic blasting in a community vigil at Woodside’s headquarters last month.


Notes to editors: 

  • Generic images of whales can be found here